04 January 2009

The Adventures of Bethany and Sam on the Megabus

The Original Plan: Bethany and Liz take the last LCT out of Oberlin on Friday, take the RTA to Tower City, wait around for a while, and take the Megabus at 11:59 to Chicago. Bethany kills 8 hours in the Windy City, and takes the Megabus to Minneapolis at 3.

As I'm sure you can guess, that's not how it happened.

8:15PM Bethany and Liz take the last LCT out of Oberlin, where they find Sam, the illustrious Quidditch player who also happens to be taking the Megabus to Chicago, and is going to Minneapolis, but with a shorter layover. Good so far.

9:20PM Bethany, Liz and Sam take the RTA to Tower City. We had a hard time reading the map of the stops from far away, but our mad squinting skillz came through.

9:45PM Bethany, Liz and Sam poke around Tower City, looking for an unlocked public restroom. No dice. They then decide to patronize the Hard Rock Cafe, where the waitress drops Liz's salad, there's a wide variety of 'rock' music played, they have one of Prince's suits on the wall (yes, he really is that short), and they have restrooms.

10:15PM Into the HRC walk Robin and Holly Jenkins! Hello, friends!

10:17PM Holly steals one of my croutons.

11:20PM Bethany, Liz and Sam decide to leave the restaurant and sit around by the door with the gathering Megabus patrons.

11:50PM The bus is nowhere to be seen. Expecting it soon, Bethany, Liz, Sam, Robin and Holly head out to the bus stop to wait.

12:15AM Some guy comes out and says there's service advisories on the Megabus website and that our bus was canceled. Everyone heads back inside.

12:20AM Much using of Tower City's free wireless and calling of parents ensues. The website mentions weather problems but doesn't specify which buses have been canceled. Do our heroes wait to see if it comes (remember, Bethany and Anna took one out of Cleveland that was 40 minutes late that one time)? Take a taxi back to Oberlin and try to catch a (probably full capacity) bus the next day? No email has been sent so far. Someone is here to pick up their kid, and they're on their way. Is the same bus going to turn around? No! The same driver can't go more than eight hours. But can't they just switch drivers? Amtrak and Greyhound prices are looked into. Sam is going to miss her connecting bus. Cwap.

1:00AM The security guard shows up and he really needs to close Tower City. Parents are called. Bethany has this little moment where she feels like a real adult. She calls her dad, explains the situation, and asks "What do I do?" and he says "I have no idea". They are on the same page. Unfortuately, not a good page. Robin and Holly (trying to get to St. Louis, so it doesn't make a lot of sense to try to get to Chicago) decide to go back to Oberlin for the night. Bethany, Liz and Sam go the Ritz Carlton where the nice woman working at the desk calls for a taxi. They head to the Amtrak station, to try their luck.

1:30AM There's a 2:57 train to Chicago, but too bad that that's full. (Pay no attention to those other out-of-luck Megabusers who bought their tickets online.) There's a 3:45 to Chicago, and that's running late and should be here at 5. Three tickets are purchased and the are happy to be in a place that is warm, has restrooms and vending machines. Liz shows some cute kids how to knit.

2:15AM Liz reminds Bethany and Sam that those kids were so cute.

2:30AM They were so cute.

2:40AM So cute, Liz, we know.

3:45AM The bus is running even later. ETA is 5:45.

5:45AM An announcement is made. It's our train! It's here! Hooray! Bethany thinks about waking up Sam, who is sleeping on the floor. WAIT. NO. IT'S THE 6:20 TRAIN HALF AN HOUR EARLY. Bethany and Liz: heartbreak and agony. Sam: sleeps on, not knowing the pain she has spared herself.

7:00AM The train shows. Bethany, Liz and Sam board. The woman Sam is sitting next to is confused, but it all works out. Liz makes hecka progress on her scarf.

12:30PM Arrival in Chicago, at Union Station. Bethany and Liz accidentally lose track of Sam as they exit the train.

1:00PM Lunch at Potbelly's. The waiter is kinda flirty with Liz. Liz guesses the artist of the music playing (Credence Clearwater Revival) and wins a cookie.

2:30PM The Minneapolis Megabus is waiting outside! Already! Bethany says goodbye to Liz and boards. Sam waits to see if she can get on, since she missed her earlier bus. She succeeds, and the two Quidditch teammates feel so victorious as the bus departs on time.

6:00PM In one purchase at a rest stop, Bethany doubles the number of times she has eaten at Taco Bell in her life.

9:00PM Weather conditions have slowed down the bus. It's seriously snowing outside. It's behind schedule by a couple of hours, but everyone is safe and warm.

Sunday Morning
1:30AM Arrival in downtown Minneapolis.

2:00AM Home. Phew.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Bethany and Sam's Megabus Adventure: the Summary

31 hours total
11 hours in Cleveland
6 hours in the Amtrak station, specifically
17 hours in motion

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

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The trip back to Ohio was much better. The bus left Minneapolis on time, and was ahead of schedule going through Wisconsin. I sat next to an Oberlin alum (an Econ major), who married another Oberlin alum (a History major), and it was really neat talking to her. We stopped in Madison and dropped some people off, but there was no one there to pick up. The driver calls HQ and asks if there's anyone there we need to wait for, and they give him the okay to keep driving.

52 miles outside of Chicago. There are people in Madison. We need to go back. An hour and a half there and back, we're three hours behind schedule coming into Chicago. Fortunately for me, it was just less time I spent waiting around Union Station. But it was kind of ridiculous.

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